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What are the Signs of Infertility?
a blog by Jane Frederick, M.D., HRC Fertility, January 31, 2014
If you have been trying for over six months and are wondering if you have a fertility issue, there are a few things you should be looking for to determine if you have an infertility issue. Too many couples suffer in silence much longer than they should, trying month after month to conceive when they could have a solution.
For women, check to see if you menstrual cycle is regular (typically between 28-30 days) and if you have a regular flow. If the menstrual cycle is extra-long or short, if you have heavy bleeding, etc., then you could have a hormonal issue that is contributing to infertility. Hormonal issues can wreak havoc on a women’s system. They can appear in the form of additional facial hair on women, additional weight or lost weight without having changed your diet, sudden acne or mid-cycle spotting. If you have these issues then you should check with your doctor as you may be having a hormonal issue.
How old are you? Unfortunately as women age, our fertility declines. Most of us aren't prepared to have a child in our 20s and we waited for various reasons including a career or not meeting Mr. Right. However, as we age so do our eggs and our “ovarian reserve” is older, meaning time is of the essence in fertility. This should encourage you to seek help sooner, not discourage you. If you are over 40, don’t wait to conceive- seek a fertility specialist right away as the window may be closing.
The male partner is almost 50% as likely to be the contributor to the fertility issue as the female. A very easy test for the male is a sperm count test that will tell us quickly if they have a low or high count. Men can have a hormonal imbalance and signs of this can be low libido, erectile dysfunction , body fat in the mid-section, and irregular heartbeat.
Diet, Alcohol and Smoking can affect sperm count drastically so lifestyle choices can contribute to a male’s fertility. Poor sperm health indicates the sperms movement which is motility. Morphology refers to the shape. Typically if your initial sperm test comes back with any red flags you will be referred to a urologist who can explain these numbers and meanings in more detail. It used to be much harder to treat male fertility but the great news is almost 90 percent of male infertility issues are treatable with male technology.
Other health related issues can affect our fertility. These include thyroid issues, being underweight or overweight, diabetes, autoimmune disease (lupus), smoking, hypertension, heavy exposure to environmental pollution, long-term use of over-the-counter medication and prescription medication.
You should see a doctor if any of these issues is ringing a bell for you. If you are under 35 and trying for a year, please see a doctor. If you are over 35, then you should see a doctor if you are trying over 6 months. There are many ways to support health fertility even if you have to use high-tech fertility treatments. Acupuncture and massage have shown to provide great stress relief and relaxation for patients.
Keep in mind, there is always hope. Almost all couples that have seen me over the years have reached their family building goals. The one thing I hear so often is “Why did we wait so long to seek help.”